Friday, 7 February 2014

7th - 9th February 2014

Sunday, 9th February: Still very windy but at least it's somewhat drier today with sunny periods and the odd heavy shower. As I suggested yesterday, the sea washed up with a couple of surprises, although one of them sadly was a dead Puffin. This is the third one I know about on the West Sussex coast, so whether this is storm related or something more sinister like an oil spill we don't yet know, though I have a hunch it could be the latter.

Selsey Bill: 07.15 to 09.30hrs:  Mainly dry, some showers, Wind strong WSW 5-7.
(Obs:JA, SH, PB & IP)
Great Northern Diver 1 o/s
diver sp 1 E
Great Crested Grebe 1 W
Fulmar 2 W
Gannet 2 W
Teal 2 W
Eider 4 E & 2 W
Common Scoter 1 E & 5 o/s
Red-breasted Merganser 14 W & 3 o/s
Mediterranean Gull 1 W
Kittiwake 5 E
auk sp 2 E
Also a Peregrine seen offshore swooping down low several times apparently trying to pluck something off the sea without success

Sadly a dead Puffin was found on the beach, too.
Dead Puffin on Selsey Beach (SH)
The wall at the Bill, minus all of its shingle (SH)
Fishbourne Creek: I lead a dozen hardy members of the SOS around here this morning in the bracing westerly gale, and highlights of a surprisingly productive trip were 3 or 4 Spotted Redshank, 2 Greenshank, at least 500 Black-tailed Godwits, a pair of Goldeneye, half a dozen Red-breasted Mergansers and Little Grebes, 2 or 3 Rock Pipits and a dozen Meadow Pipits, a brief sighting of a Grey Wagtail, 15-20 Yellowhammers, 2 Lesser Black-backed, 1 Mediterranean and dozens of Common Gulls, and a Peregrine upsetting the peace, along with hundreds of Brent Geese and plenty of the commoner waders. (AH)

Spotted Redshank (top), Greenshank (above) & Grey Plover in Fishbourne Creek (AH)

Ferry Pool: At least 500 Brent Geese & Lapwings present, plus a single Snipe and 40+ Shoveler, and about 80 Goldfinch on teasels by the hide. (AH)

On the way back from seeing the Kumlien's Gull at Littlehampton I stopped off at the very blustery Pagham Lagoon but there was no sign of the recent Slavonian Grebe.  Three Goldeneye, 1 Red-breasted Merganser, 9 Tufted Ducks,  c30 Little Grebes, 9 Med. Gulls, 2 Mute Swans, c40 Coots were present (SR).
Church Norton: Sam & Sandra Hill found a live lobster (with eggs) on the beach which they generously returned to the sea, after a quick photo.

 A live lobster with eggs, on Church Norton Beach, before being returned to the sea (AH)

At Medmerry banks, (Earnley)  15.00hrs
200+ Pied Wagtail inc one flock of 60
70+ Yellowhammer inc one flock of 30
70 Golden Plover, 500 Lapwing and a Common Buzzard (SH)

Saturday, 8th February: A real mixed bag of weather today - black skies, cloud, bright sunshine, hail and very heavy squally showers. The one consistent feature has been the wind,  a strong to gale force SSW with occasional more severe gusts. Despite this it was still possible for some of the regulars to get out and do a bit of birding.... although surprisingly the sea was disappointing. It may not stay that way though, for just along the coast at Littlehampton, a Kumlein's and a Glaucous Gull were present today, generating a good deal of interest (guess where I was). Whilst they were the headline grabbers, it may well be what the sea washes in over the next few days that steals the show. Sam Hill found loads of starfish, but along the coast a moribund Puffin was found which inevitably perished, but I also heard news today of another Puffin washed up dead at Climping, together with other auks. This may or may not be weather related, but either way it's well worth checking the sea and shoreline over the next few days  - you just never know! (OM)
Selsey Bill 07.20 to 09.00hrs: Very windy/gales SSW, sun, rain and cloud.  (Obs: SH et al)
Red-throated Diver - 4E

Great Northern Diver - 1W
Fulmar - 4W
Common Scoter - 2E, 8 os
R/b Merganser -  1E, 1W, 5 os
Grey Plover - 8W
Kittiwake - 2E, 1W

Pagham Hbr: North Wall: Blowing a gale and very little around on this side of the Harbour. The fields behind the Breech Pool  (or more accurately the lakes) were a different story though.... 610 Black-tailed Godwit, 247 Curlew, 320 Lapwing, 4 Redshank, 3 Common Snipe, 10 Mute Swan, 680 Wigeon, 33 Teal, 9 Shoveler  and 16 Coot. There were 1400 Brent Geese in the field between Honer and Marsh Farm along with 80 Wigeon and 28 Curlew. A Firecrest in Owl Copse. (Jim Weston). 

During a walk to Church Norton from the Selsey area, S&SaH located 2 Buzzards, 3 Kestrels and a single Med Gull, but also of interest were dozens of starfish washed up on the beach and hundreds of sea urchins. They also found this, which was placed in a shell to give an idea of size (see pic) ....what is it? My guess is a sea-squirt (the object that is!) Any ideas anyone? (OM)
Mystery object found on the beach by Sam and Sandra; any ideas? (SH)
Two adult Whooper Swans on floodwater between South Mundham and Lagness this afternoon (P&BJ).

Ivy Lake this morning held all the usual suspects - a colour-ringed (red) Herring gull that was too far away to read the lettering, and another dark-eyed adult Herring gull type were the most interesting birds. An exceedingly draughty Fishbourne creek was alive with waders and Brent Geese, with c.450 Black-tailed Godwits of which many were colour-ringed individuals, but the wind/rain/hail made note-taking impossible (P.Hughes per SOS website).
Friday, 7th February: About the rarest thing today was the sight of a sunny morning! Even so it's not set to last and yet another storm is due overnight and into tomorrow morning.

Pagham Hbr: Church Norton: Not much new to report - the Peregrine was on his island, there was absolutely nothing offshore, but along the beach, 200 Knot, 20 Bar-tailed Godwit, 500 Dunlin, 50 Grey Plover, 30 Common Gulls and 50+ Mediterranean & Black-headed Gulls, some of which were reminding us that spring is not far away .... hopefully! 

Black-headed and Mediterranean Gulls starting to show their black heads (AH) 

Sidlesham Ferry: Again not much new to report - 50+ Shoveler, several hundred Brent Geese and Lapwings on the grass and at least a dozen Curlews there, too, plus a very striking 'sinensis'-type Cormorant. (AH)
'sinensis'-type Cormorant on the Ferry (AH)

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